Cover photo for Herbert Hedstrom's Obituary
Herbert Hedstrom Profile Photo
1917 Herbert 2015

Herbert Hedstrom

April 23, 1917 — June 4, 2015

HERBERT MILTON HEDSTROM, Grand Marais, Minnesota

April 23, 1917 - June 4, 2015

Herbert M. Hedstrom died Thursday, June 4, at the North Shore Hospital in Grand Marais after a short illness.

Born April 23, 1917 to Andrew and Alma (Berglund) Hedstrom, the 10th of 13 children, Herbert grew up with his siblings on Maple Hill, attending school there and in Grand Marais.

After graduating from high school in 1936, he went to work for the family lumber business, mainly at sawmills in the woods. He enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard and served throughout World War II, returning to Cook County in 1946 to work at the Hedstrom Lumber Company.

In 1948, he married Margaret Jane Tonkin, a Duluthian, who was the great love of his life and his heart's companion. They built a home on Maple Hill where they raised their 3 children. Herbert and Jane were partners not only in marriage but in quiet, deep and powerful faith, devotion to family, to community service and to hospitality. There was music in their home. The duets they often sang symbolized the harmony they strove to achieve in their life together. They moved to their home on the shore of Lake Superior in July 1980 and Herb resided there until his last day.

In business, Herb managed the retail operations until he retired in 1982.  In his final year, Herbert was pleased to celebrate both the 100th anniversary of the business founded by his father and the birth of his great-grandson.

Herbert was an active member of the 1st Congregational Church of United Church of Christ, where for many years he sang in the choir. He also took part in the Masonic Order for 72 years.   He was a member and officer of the Cook County Historical Society, the Johnson Heritage Post Art Gallery board, Maple Hill cemetery board, and the electric cooperative board among many civic endeavors. He supported the arts, cultural and music organizations and numerous local, national and international charities.  He kept abreast of current affairs and he brought his intelligence, common sense, a calm demeanor, and a passion for social justice to all of his activities.

Herbert was a reader, a keen observer of nature, a gardener, a bird watcher, a berry picker as long as he was able, a good listener, and a great story teller.  Always looking forward, in his last week Herb oversaw the planting of the vegetable garden. He was artistic and imaginative. In retirement he made beautiful decorative pieces from found objects -- bark, driftwood, cones, mosses, berries, dried flowers -- that came from nature into his creative hands.   Most of all, he was a kind man who loved and was devoted to his family in the widest possible sense of kinship.

Herbert is preceded in death by his wife of 52 years, Jane; son-in-law, Robert L. Frost II; brothers Lawrence, Roy, Carl, Philip, Andrew, and Wesley, and sisters Alice, Frances (Fenstad), Mildred (Anderson), Lucille (Walker), Helen (Kruse); and many beloved brothers-in-law and sisters-in law, cousins, nieces and nephews.

Herbert is survived by his children Mary Jane (Ron Soderberg) of Golden Valley, MN, Margaret (Ann Arbor, MI), and Alan (Ft. Myers Beach, FL and Grand Marais); grandson Milan (Velitchka) Hedstrom (Vienna, Austria) and granddaughter Amelia Hedstrom (Jesse DeWit) of Plymouth, MN;  great-grandson Damian Hedstrom (Vienna); his brother, Arthur (North Oaks, MN); sister-in-law Thelma Hedstrom (Grand Marais) and sister-in-law Evelyn Tonkin (Duluth); numerous nieces and nephews; and special friend and caregiver, Marce Wood.

A memorial service celebrating Herbert's life will be held at 1 PM on Saturday, June 13, at the 1st Congregational Church of United Church of Christ, Grand Marais. A reception at the church will follow the memorial service.  To sign the online guestbook please visit

Interment will be at Maple Hill Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be given in Herbert's memory to the charities of your choice.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Herbert Hedstrom, please visit our flower store.


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